The Bucharest-Ilfov Metropolitan train, the project of Bucharest general mayor, Nicusor Dan, will cost EUR 962 million and perform 86,000 trips/day. The project was criticized for megalomania and arouses controversy.
According to Bucharest-Ilfov Intercommunity Development Association for Public Transport (TPBI), the Bucharest-Ilfov Metropolitan Train will cost EUR 962 million. Approximately EUR 614 million will be used to buy some new trains, and the remaining funds will be used to build additional stops, renovate stations, and upgrade some rail levels. The investment plan’s initial phase will cost EUR 116 million.
The funding sources are European funds from the local budgets of the member municipalities (including Bucharest City Hall) and the County Council.
According to G4Media, the Metropolitan Train was expected to be in demand for 82,000 trips each day, or 24.6 million trips annually. However, many experts on urban mobility contend that the Metropolitan Train won’t do much to assist the inhabitants of Ilfov or Bucharest as many locations along its path lack urban agglomerations and are sparsely inhabited.
Probably the moment when we will have all modernized lines will be somewhere in 2026-2027. In this interval, however, on the segments that can be operated on, we intend – there is an opportunity in the northern area, where the network is good – and we want to have the lines on the North Station functional in a year from now – Obor Station, West Station – North Station and West Station – Obor Station; the first and third passing through Pipera.Nicusor Dan, Bucharest’s General Mayor
Specialists are very concerned about the topic, saying that Bucharest is implementing the metropolitan train tale in a way that defies logic because it doesn’t consider the people’s expenses or demands. For such travel to be successful, it must first be quicker than or as short as motorized transport.
Have you noticed anything relevant being done for these projects? Just think of the subsidy for public transport that could have been substantially reduced if prioritization of public transport had been achieved. As they say, the costs would be „recovered” in a maximum of 1 year by reducing the public transport subsidy. But five years have passed since the adoption of the PMUD (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan) and no mayor has dared to implement these vital projects. As an observer of local administrations in the Capital for the last 12 years, I can say that the mayors often advance projects with extended deadlines and grandiose budgets precisely to try to hide their inability to carry out practical projects with low budgets. The „metropolitan train”, in its current version, is such a project.Marian Ivan, president of the Organization for the Promotion of Alternative Transport in Romania (OPTAR)
Prioritizing public transportation, ensuring that public spaces are accessible to people with disabilities, managing parking, and implementing bicycle infrastructure are just a few of the projects mentioned in the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan that can be implemented with remarkable efficiency and at a low cost in the metropolitan area.
Is this a project that deserves such a considerable investment in Bucharest? Probably not. There are undoubtedly other problems in Bucharest that desperately need financial attention. The traffic issue in Bucharest can be solved through other less expensive projects.